Iprosurv, one of the UK’s leading commercial drone providers, has bolstered its portfolio of drone services with the announcement that it has entered into a strategic partnership with thermal imaging specialists, iRed.
Established in 2002, iRed is the UK’s leader in thermal imaging, remote sensing and enterprise drone solutions and is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority for commercial drone pilots.
Under the partnership, iRed will provide Iprosurv with the latest, most accurate infrared imaging services on the market, expanding the drone operator’s existing broad range of services even further.
Best in Business Partners
Commenting on the deal, Rebecca Jones, co-founder and CEO of Iprosurv, said: “From the day we launched in 2014, we have always placed a huge amount of emphasis upon professionalism and setting the highest standards in training and technology use.
“We know where our specialisms lie and we will continue to build on them but where we don’t have the necessary level of expertise or experience, we will look to partner with the best in the business which led us to explore partnership possibilities with iRed.”
While thermal cameras are relatively commonplace in the commercial drone market, standard cameras lack the accuracy and sophistication required to provide businesses and individuals with the necessary insight.
“By partnering with iRed, we know that we are giving our clients the most up to date, accurate and detailed thermal capability on the market. We can’t reproduce that level of expertise, so we decided to partner with the best instead and make that expertise available to all of our client base.”
Commitment and Quality
Commenting on the deal, Jack Bloomfield, Marketing Manager for iRed, said: “All of our best clients come from long term partnerships. We always look to build sustained, long-term partnerships with the firms who have the same commitment to quality and professionalism that we do – and Iprosurv ticked all the boxes.
“The drone industry is still young but by sharing best practice, technology and expertise, we are working together to create the professional sector that we all want, and our clients deserve.”
The iRed is Iprosurv’s latest strategic partnership following the deals with agricultural specialist Sentera and UTM provider Altitude Angel
The Grenfell disaster which claimed the lives of 72 people was not a one-off event, absorbed and grieved over before everyone moved on. The repercussions of that night are still with us and continue to be significant for residents of high-rise buildings across the country. And, indeed, for the landlords, housing associations and local authorities responsible for those properties.
The task facing the nation’s property managers is huge. They have to survey an estimated 1,700 high rise blocks, remove the cladding and make them safe to live in. And they need to do it quickly.
Which presents a huge fiscal challenge for everyone involved, not least local authorities.
It has been estimated by the same Committee that the cost of making each building safe will be £1.7m, covering everything from initial inspection, to the removal of cladding, to finishing the job. While it is clear that cutting corners or looking for cost savings in materials isn’t a viable option, there remains a pressing responsibility to keep costs down to make that fund stretch as far as is safely possible.
One part of the process where costs and timescales can be significantly reduced is in the inspection and survey of all these buildings through the use of drones. Not only can they do what a human can at a fraction of the cost, they can do it faster and with a greater degree of safety.
Drones are often viewed in extremes – either as a hobbyist’s toy or as a weapon of war. They are of course both, but increasingly, they are making their presence felt in the commercial world as more and more organisations wake up to their flexibility and adaptability. And one such area is the surveying of inaccessible properties.
Using High Resolution RGB imaging, drones can inspect the condition of a high-rise property (at a distance), in minute detail, in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually using scaffolding, cherry pickers or ropes. The High Resolution RGB imaging is then translated into a 3D interactive model of the property which can be inspected in detail (up to 20mm) highlighting even the smallest amounts of damage to the outside and, when using thermal imaging, investigating anomalies such as damp ingress and thermal efficiency of the fabric of the building.
If LIDAR is incorporated increased levels of accuracy can be achieved down to 10mm and below.
The whole process, from instruction to inspecting the model, can take two or three days rather than the weeks and months required with traditional methods, and it is the speed with which drones can conduct surveys that should have landlords and local authorities sitting up and taking notice.
One of the problems facing property managers is understanding, in detail, the scope of the risk posed by their property portfolio and with the safety of tenants paramount, they need to understand it quickly.
Drones can help them do that as several inspections can be conducted in one day or over a period of days, providing the local authority with a quick, comprehensive view of their portfolio, including which properties pose the highest risk.
From here, the triage process begins, and drones are a speedy, cost-effective way of streamlining it, allowing the local authority to act quickly on its most vulnerable properties.
Drones can also act as a quality control tool to monitor and assess the ongoing work, and that governance role extends to post-work inspections to ensure the property has been re-instated as required.
If used properly, drones could and should act as the start and finish point of this remediation work and while they are not, of course, a catch-all solution for the many problems dogging the remediation programme, they do have a crucial role to play.
If the current remediation fund will not, as has been suggested, be sufficient to complete all the necessary work, then it is vital that any safe, reliable and proven cost-cutting measure be embraced as soon as possible.
In common with much of the commercial world, local authorities are at the early stages of exploring the possibilities presented by commercial drones. And in common with their private sector peers, it is those that recognise the opportunity earliest and act first, that will gain the most.
And that means giving tenants up and down the country quicker and more certain reassurance that they and their families are safe in their home.